Build­ing Block hit as Coun­cil pull out

NO EX­PLA­NA­TION GIVEN FOR BUILD­ING BLOCK WITH­DRAWAL

The Sligo Champion - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL DEERING

PLANS by IDA Ire­land, Sligo County Coun­cil and IT Sligo to rent a floor at the Build­ing Block at €100,000 a year have run aground.

The trio have pulled out of plans for the first floor of buid­ing, which is owned by a pen­sion trust- Ever­ards Trus­tees. The ground floor was de­vel­oped into an ul­tra-mod­ern shared of­fice space geared to­wards the high tech and cre­ative in­dus­tries sec­tor.

The pro­pos­als in­volv­ing IDA Ire­land, IT Sligo and Sligo County Coun­cil (LEO) were for a broadly sim­i­lar de­vel­op­ment.

A plan by the County Coun­cil, IDA and IT Sligo to lease a floor of the Build­ing Block has come to an abrupt end.

Re­quests for a re­port into the plan, which was pro­moted en­thu­si­as­ti­cally ear­lier in the year by the coun­cil, was met with a straight­for­ward re­sponse that it was no longer pro­ceed­ing with the project which was also to in­volve IT Sligo and the IDA.

It had been pro­posed that a ten year con­tract/lease would be en­tered into with the own­ers of the build­ing and the cost per year for the first floor would be in ex­cess of €100,000 - a quar­ter to be paid by the Coun­cil, a quar­ter by the I.T. and half by the IDA.

This now all ap­pears to have fallen by the way­side.

On Mon­day this week the Coun­cil told The Sligo Cham­pion: “Is­sues in re­la­tion to the ‘Build­ing Block’ are a mat­ter for the own­ers of the prop­erty, Sligo County Coun­cil will not be com­ment­ing fur­ther at this stage.”

There was no fur­ther ex­pla­na­tion forth­com­ing.

The coun­cil’s in­volve­ment in the project was through the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Of­fice.

Coun­cil­lor Declan Bree had asked the coun­cil for a re­port on the coun­cil’s plans and had ini­tially been in­formed that ne­go­ti­a­tions were on­go­ing and that a re­port would is­sue in due course to the coun­cil.

In a state­ment, the co-founders of The Build­ing Block, Denise Rushe and John Mon­a­han told The Cham­pion: “The ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the build­ing owner and the IDA/ Coun­cil have been sep­a­rate to The Build­ing Block col­lab­o­ra­tive space.

“The Build­ing Block con­tin­ues to grow and de­velop with a roll out of im­me­di­ate 10 new desks and fu­ture plans to move up­stairs within the build­ing.

“The events space has been host to many sig­nif­i­cant events in re­cent months and wel­comed many visit­ing in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies.

“We have also noted an in­crease in hot desk use and desk rental de­mand, and con­tinue to sup­port the lo­cal en­trepreneurial eco-sys­tem, act­ing as a hub for star­tups, SMEs and en­trepreneurs.”

On May 18th last an SPC meet­ing of the Coun­cil was told by John Reilly of the Lo­cal En­ter­prise Of­fice that the build­ing, which is owned by a pen­sion trust- Ever­ards Trus­tees had de­vel­oped the ground floor into an ul­tra-mod­ern shared of­fice space geared to­wards the high tech and cre­ative in­dus­tries sec­tor.

The pro­pos­als in­volv­ing three par­ties: IDA Ire­land, IT Sligo and Sligo County Coun­cil (LEO) were for a broadly sim­i­lar de­vel­op­ment on the first floor of the build­ing.

Coun­cil­lors were in­formed that the le­gal doc­u­men­ta­tion was im­mi­nent via the IDA Prop­erty Divi­sion (the lead ne­go­tia­tor) and may con­tain the fol­low­ing: · 10 year lease with a break clause at year 5 sub­ject to around 9 month’s rent penalty;

· IDA Ire­land to take 50% stake; SCC(LEO) and IT Sligo 25% each - rental and other costs to be paid pro-rata;

· A ba­sic rental cost payable via the LEO of €12,308 p.a. plus vat – af­ter fit out charges (to bring the first floor to the same type of mod­ern stan­dard as is the case with the ground floor), util­i­ties, clean­ing, etc are fac­tored in, the over­all an­nual cost is an­tic­i­pated to be €26,475 plus vat.

Mr. Reilly stated that the key ra­tio­nale for in­volve­ment in the project was to put in place in the cen­tre of the city an as­set in terms of en­ter­prise and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment that will project Sligo as a mod­ern top class lo­ca­tion for busi­ness.

Po­ten­tially, busi­nesses from out­side of the re­gion can op­er­ate on a small scale, get a feel for the po­ten­tial of Sligo, the ser­vices, fa­cil­i­ties and qual­ity of life on of­fer.

He stated that the avail­abil­ity of such a venue for lo­cal pro­gres­sive busi­nesses to net­work, learn from each other and grow will as­sist in­dige­nous busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

A sce­nario in­volv­ing a num­ber of busi­nesses set­ting up larger op­er­a­tions, hav­ing sam­pled what is on of­fer in the fa­cil­ity, is one that all con­cerned will work to­wards.

The mem­bers were in­formed that the max­i­mum rent re­ceiv­able (based on 100% oc­cu­pancy) would be in the re­gion of €39,000 to €42,000.

The Build­ing Block on Bridge Street.

The Build­ing Block on Bridge Street, Sligo. Pic: Donal Hack­ett.

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